Golf Course Architecture - Issue 60, April 2020

50 In with the New L es Bordes in France’s Sologne region is one of Europe’s most renowned but least known clubs. With its original course built for former owner Marcel Bich by Robert von Hagge, it has remained extremely private and low key throughout its history. Now, Les Bordes is expanding. Architect Gil Hanse, with Jim Wagner and Neil Cameron, has completed the construction of a second course, the New, which will open later this year. Richard Wax spoke with Hanse to find out more. When you first visited the site at Les Bordes, which features attracted you? Whenever we’ve looked at a site the things that are most obvious are the topography, the soil structure and the vegetation. While the topography is not overwhelmingly interesting, there was enough character in it. The soil structure is very sandy and the natural vegetation on site, the combination of the heather and the broom, and the trees: these were the elements that really caught my eye when I first walked the land. We had a site that had some really interesting character, but one where we felt that features we created might actually drive more of the character and interest of the site than the actual topography. We had always been intrigued by the style, and certainly the strategy and the brilliance, of Tom Simpson’s golf courses. There was the potential to create some bold and dramatic features and strategies or options on the golf course. We could create a golf course that would be in balance with the low- profile nature of the site with these more dramatic hole features adding drama to the golf course. You mentioned Simpson. Which golf architects inspire your work? With Les Bordes, it was really Tom Simpson. We have read his book of course and admired his artwork for years but had not yet had the opportunity to work on a canvas that might be suitable for trying to evoke his style. When Les Bordes Richard Wax speaks with architect Gil Hanse about his design of the New course at iconic Les Bordes in France GI L HANSE INTERV I EW